Alexei II (Ridiger) of Moscow

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His Holiness Patriarch '''Alexei II (Ridiger) of Moscow''' (born [[February 23]], 1929) is the current Patriarch of Moscow and the head of the [[Church of Russia|Russian Orthodox Church]].  
 
His Holiness Patriarch '''Alexei II (Ridiger) of Moscow''' (born [[February 23]], 1929) is the current Patriarch of Moscow and the head of the [[Church of Russia|Russian Orthodox Church]].  
  
==Life and Ministry==
+
==Life and ministry==
 
+
 
He was born as '''Alexey Mikhailovich Ridiger''' in Tallinn, Estonia, to the family of a [[priest]]. He graduated from Leningrad clerical seminary in 1949; was ordained [[deacon]] in 1950; graduated from Leningrad clerical academy in 1953. On August 14, 1961, he was chosen to be the [[Bishop]] of Tallinn and Estonia. On June 23, 1964, he was promoted to [[archbishop]]; and, on February 25, 1968, at the age of 39 to [[metropolitan]].<ref> Encyclopedia Britannica Online, s.v. Alexis II, http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9005644/Alexis-II 1/19/2008</ref>  
 
He was born as '''Alexey Mikhailovich Ridiger''' in Tallinn, Estonia, to the family of a [[priest]]. He graduated from Leningrad clerical seminary in 1949; was ordained [[deacon]] in 1950; graduated from Leningrad clerical academy in 1953. On August 14, 1961, he was chosen to be the [[Bishop]] of Tallinn and Estonia. On June 23, 1964, he was promoted to [[archbishop]]; and, on February 25, 1968, at the age of 39 to [[metropolitan]].<ref> Encyclopedia Britannica Online, s.v. Alexis II, http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9005644/Alexis-II 1/19/2008</ref>  
  
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Despite his age, Patriarch Alexei II is quite healthy and leads an active political life. He's frequently seen on Russian TV, conducting Church services, and meeting with various government officials.
 
Despite his age, Patriarch Alexei II is quite healthy and leads an active political life. He's frequently seen on Russian TV, conducting Church services, and meeting with various government officials.
  
== Name ==
+
==Name==
 
+
 
His name (secular 'Алексей, clerical Алексий) is transliterated from the Cyrillic alphabet into English in various forms, including Alexius, Aleksi, Alexis, Alexei, Alexey and Alexy.  When he became a monk, his name was not changed; this departure from custom was common in the Russian Church in Soviet times.'.
 
His name (secular 'Алексей, clerical Алексий) is transliterated from the Cyrillic alphabet into English in various forms, including Alexius, Aleksi, Alexis, Alexei, Alexey and Alexy.  When he became a monk, his name was not changed; this departure from custom was common in the Russian Church in Soviet times.'.
 
  
 
==Criticism==
 
==Criticism==
 
 
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union there have been accusations that Patriarch Alexei had ties to the KGB, which resulted from documents which allegedly came from the KGB's archives in Estonia, and which refer to Patriarch Alexei with the code name "Drozdov".<ref> See for example, The Wall Street Journal, [http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB118469533202469128-lMyQjAxMDE3ODE0NzYxOTc1Wj.html 'Cold War Lingers At Russian Church In New Jersey'] December 28, 2007</ref>  It should be noted that it was very unusual for any person to be referenced in KGB documents prior to 1980 without a similar code name, regardless of their affiliation with the KGB. Patriarch Alexei has always denied that he was a KGB agent, and the authenticity of the documents in question have been disputed on the basis on the basis that they use anachronistic fonts which did not exist at the time the document ostensibly originated from, and that the Estonian government fabricated the documents in order to discredit the Russian Orthodox Church.<ref>Alexey Chumakov [https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0010A&L=ORTHODOX&P=R3102  Agent Drozdov?], December 28, 2007</ref>   
 
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union there have been accusations that Patriarch Alexei had ties to the KGB, which resulted from documents which allegedly came from the KGB's archives in Estonia, and which refer to Patriarch Alexei with the code name "Drozdov".<ref> See for example, The Wall Street Journal, [http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB118469533202469128-lMyQjAxMDE3ODE0NzYxOTc1Wj.html 'Cold War Lingers At Russian Church In New Jersey'] December 28, 2007</ref>  It should be noted that it was very unusual for any person to be referenced in KGB documents prior to 1980 without a similar code name, regardless of their affiliation with the KGB. Patriarch Alexei has always denied that he was a KGB agent, and the authenticity of the documents in question have been disputed on the basis on the basis that they use anachronistic fonts which did not exist at the time the document ostensibly originated from, and that the Estonian government fabricated the documents in order to discredit the Russian Orthodox Church.<ref>Alexey Chumakov [https://listserv.indiana.edu/cgi-bin/wa-iub.exe?A2=ind0010A&L=ORTHODOX&P=R3102  Agent Drozdov?], December 28, 2007</ref>   
  
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Patriarch Alexei has, however, acknowledged that compromises were made with the Soviet government by bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate, and publicly repented of these compromises.<ref>[http://pages.prodigy.net/frjohnwhiteford/patalexei.htm Has the MP Repented?], December 28, 2007</ref>
 
Patriarch Alexei has, however, acknowledged that compromises were made with the Soviet government by bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate, and publicly repented of these compromises.<ref>[http://pages.prodigy.net/frjohnwhiteford/patalexei.htm Has the MP Repented?], December 28, 2007</ref>
 
  
 
:''"Defending one thing, it was necessary to give somewhere else.  Were there any other organizations, or any other people among those who had to carry responsibility not only for themselves but for thousands of other fates, who in those years in the Soviet Union were not compelled to act likewise?  Before those people, however, to whom the compromises, silence, forced passivity or expressions of loyalty permitted by the leaders of the church in those years caused pain, before these people, and not only before God, I ask forgiveness, understanding and prayers."''<ref>From an interview of Patriarch Alexius II, given to "Izvestia" No 137, June 10, 1991, entitled "Patriarch Alexius II: -- I Take upon Myself Responsibility for All that Happened", English translation from Nathaniel Davis, A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy,(Oxford: Westview Press, 1995),p 89.  See also [http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/roca_history.aspx History of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad], by St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco, December 31, 2007</ref>
 
:''"Defending one thing, it was necessary to give somewhere else.  Were there any other organizations, or any other people among those who had to carry responsibility not only for themselves but for thousands of other fates, who in those years in the Soviet Union were not compelled to act likewise?  Before those people, however, to whom the compromises, silence, forced passivity or expressions of loyalty permitted by the leaders of the church in those years caused pain, before these people, and not only before God, I ask forgiveness, understanding and prayers."''<ref>From an interview of Patriarch Alexius II, given to "Izvestia" No 137, June 10, 1991, entitled "Patriarch Alexius II: -- I Take upon Myself Responsibility for All that Happened", English translation from Nathaniel Davis, A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy,(Oxford: Westview Press, 1995),p 89.  See also [http://orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/roca_history.aspx History of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad], by St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco, December 31, 2007</ref>

Revision as of 12:03, February 5, 2008

Patriarch Alexey II of Moscow and All Russia

His Holiness Patriarch Alexei II (Ridiger) of Moscow (born February 23, 1929) is the current Patriarch of Moscow and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Contents

Life and ministry

He was born as Alexey Mikhailovich Ridiger in Tallinn, Estonia, to the family of a priest. He graduated from Leningrad clerical seminary in 1949; was ordained deacon in 1950; graduated from Leningrad clerical academy in 1953. On August 14, 1961, he was chosen to be the Bishop of Tallinn and Estonia. On June 23, 1964, he was promoted to archbishop; and, on February 25, 1968, at the age of 39 to metropolitan.[1]

From 1986 until his election as Patriarch, he was Metropolitan of Novgorod and Leningrad. After the death of Patriarch Pimen in 1990 Alexius was chosen to become the new Patriarch of The Russian Orthodox Church. He was chosen on the basis of his administrative experience, and was considered "intelligent, energetic, hardworking, systematic, perceptive, and businesslike."[2] He also "had a reputation as a conciliator, "a person who could find common ground with various groups in the episcopate.""[3] Archbishishop Chrysostom (Martyshkin) remarked "With his peaceful and tolerant disposition Patriarch Aleksi will be able to unite us all."[4] Patriarch Alexius II was "the first patriarch in Soviet history to be chosen without government pressure; candidates were nominated from the floor, and the election was conducted by secret ballot."[5]

Despite his age, Patriarch Alexei II is quite healthy and leads an active political life. He's frequently seen on Russian TV, conducting Church services, and meeting with various government officials.

Name

His name (secular 'Алексей, clerical Алексий) is transliterated from the Cyrillic alphabet into English in various forms, including Alexius, Aleksi, Alexis, Alexei, Alexey and Alexy. When he became a monk, his name was not changed; this departure from custom was common in the Russian Church in Soviet times.'.

Criticism

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union there have been accusations that Patriarch Alexei had ties to the KGB, which resulted from documents which allegedly came from the KGB's archives in Estonia, and which refer to Patriarch Alexei with the code name "Drozdov".[6] It should be noted that it was very unusual for any person to be referenced in KGB documents prior to 1980 without a similar code name, regardless of their affiliation with the KGB. Patriarch Alexei has always denied that he was a KGB agent, and the authenticity of the documents in question have been disputed on the basis on the basis that they use anachronistic fonts which did not exist at the time the document ostensibly originated from, and that the Estonian government fabricated the documents in order to discredit the Russian Orthodox Church.[7]

Professor Nathaniel Davis pointed out: "If the bishops wished to defend their people and survive in office, they had to collaborate to some degree with the KGB, with the commissioners of the Council for Religious Affairs, and with other party and governmental authorities."[8]

Patriarch Alexei has, however, acknowledged that compromises were made with the Soviet government by bishops of the Moscow Patriarchate, and publicly repented of these compromises.[9]

"Defending one thing, it was necessary to give somewhere else. Were there any other organizations, or any other people among those who had to carry responsibility not only for themselves but for thousands of other fates, who in those years in the Soviet Union were not compelled to act likewise? Before those people, however, to whom the compromises, silence, forced passivity or expressions of loyalty permitted by the leaders of the church in those years caused pain, before these people, and not only before God, I ask forgiveness, understanding and prayers."[10]

According to Nathaniel Davis, when asked by the Russian press about claims that he was a "compliant" bishop, "Aleksi defended his record, noting that while he was bishop of Tallinn in 1961, he resisted the communist authorities' efforts to make the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in the city a planetarium (which, in truth, they did do elsewhere in the Baltic states) and to convert the Pyukhtitsa Dormition nunnery to a rest home for miners."[11] Official records show that the Tallinn diocese had a lower number of forced Church closings than was typical in the rest of the USSR during Patriarch Alexius' tenure as bishop there.[12]

External link

Notes

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica Online, s.v. Alexis II, http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9005644/Alexis-II 1/19/2008
  2. Nathaniel Davis, A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy, 2nd Edition.(Oxford: Westview Press, 2003),p 85.
  3. Nathaniel Davis, A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy, 2nd Edition.(Oxford: Westview Press, 2003),p 86.
  4. Zhurnal Moskovskoi Patriarkhii, No. 10 (October), 1990, p.16, qouted in Nathaniel Davis, A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy, 2nd Edition.(Oxford: Westview Press, 2003),p 284.
  5. Encyclopedia Britannica Online, s.v. Alexis II, http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9005644/Alexis-II 1/19/2008
  6. See for example, The Wall Street Journal, 'Cold War Lingers At Russian Church In New Jersey' December 28, 2007
  7. Alexey Chumakov Agent Drozdov?, December 28, 2007
  8. Nathaniel Davis, A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy,(Oxford: Westview Press, 1995),p .96 Davis quotes one bishop as saying: "Yes, we -- I, at least, and I say this first about myself -- I worked together with the KGB. I cooperated, I made signed statements, I had regular meetings, I made reports. I was given a pseudonym -- a code name as they say there... I knowingly cooperated with them -- but in such a way that I undeviatingly tried to maintain the position of my Church, and, yes, also to act as a patriot, insofar as I understood, in collaboration with these organs. I was never a stool pigeon, nor an informer."
  9. Has the MP Repented?, December 28, 2007
  10. From an interview of Patriarch Alexius II, given to "Izvestia" No 137, June 10, 1991, entitled "Patriarch Alexius II: -- I Take upon Myself Responsibility for All that Happened", English translation from Nathaniel Davis, A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy,(Oxford: Westview Press, 1995),p 89. See also History of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, by St. John (Maximovich) of Shanghai and San Francisco, December 31, 2007
  11. Nathaniel Davis, A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy,(Oxford: Westview Press, 1995),p. 89f
  12. Nathaniel Davis, A Long Walk to Church: A Contemporary History of Russian Orthodoxy,(Oxford: Westview Press, 1995), fn. 115, p. 272
Succession box:
Alexei II (Ridiger) of Moscow
Preceded by:
Pimen
Patriarch of Moscow
1990-present
Succeeded by:
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